Over The Wall

A Once-In-A-Lifetime Experience

In the Summer of 1978 my wife, Betts, and I drove through Europe. After touring West Berlin, we decided to visit the eastern part of the city. At Checkpoint Charlie we walked through a complicated network of wire cages. At the end we stood and waited until the guard behind a gate chose to unlock it and let us in. I felt like a trained mouse being lured through a maze, and the sensation was not comfortable. The authorities took their good, sweet time processing our papers: one hour. Read more »

Where Berlin And America Meet

Our common history isn’t all pleasant, but seeing it firsthand is deeply moving

Berlin’s history intersects with America’s at many points, and tourists who seek these intersections will arrive at the first of them sooner than they expect. Americans who came of age soaking up reruns of Twelve O‘Clock High, The World at War, and Victory Through Air-power may find that flying into Berlin is a slightly disconcerting way to approach the place.

Read more »

Visiting The Cold War Today

From Berlin to Washington to Area 51, landmarks of the era are opening up to tourists.

Berlin, on a Cold War day only George Smiley could love: John Le Carré’s hero would recognize the chill rain of this false spring. But the Kurf’fcrstendamm remains thick with tourists. Berlin’s revived status as a political and cultural capital may be the main lure for these visitors, but seeing the places most associated with the Cold War is a big draw too. Americans want to see the monument to the Berlin airlift, the markers commemorating the former Soviet military headquarters, and, of course, the Wall itself.

 
 
Read more »